The UK citizenship test
The British Israeli
Simon Posner, 36, was born in the UK but moved to Israel when he was a baby. He returned to Britain to study and he has been a North London resident for two years.
He says: “I don’t feel the need to know about politics that much. There’s the Houses of Parliament and the House of Lords. That’s all I know. But it’s important to know about the culture I’m living in. That’s something I’m always eager to learn about.”
The results: Fail
Simon scored a disappointing 17 out of 24. He got most of the political questions wrong. Not only did he trip up on those the others got wrong, he was the only one who erroneously thought it was not possible for a political candidate to win a constituency despite winning less than half of the votes cast. Like Chantal, he wrongly thought the party with the most votes forms the government (rather than the party with the most MPs elected into the House of Commons). He thought the Cabinet met monthly and that the UK birth rate was at an all-time high in 2002 — which is false. But he did know what the role of the EU’s Council of Ministers was. “I think it was more of an educated guess,” he admits.
His reaction: “I did OK. I did my best. Probably if I had more time to think about my answers I may have got a better score.”
Our experiment proves that whereas the average Jewish-community member may not know the intricacies of how politics work in the UK, they do know where Cockney is spoken (London), that another name for the Church of England is the Anglican Church, and that Remembrance Day commemorates the memory of those who died during the war.
Everyone knew what the Grand National was, and that it is not compulsory to perform military service. They also knew the current heir to the throne was the Prince of Wales.
Jane, Leonard and even Simon were aware that during the 1950s Britain set up bus-driver recruitment centres in the West Indies, from their knowledge of the hit TV comedy On The Buses, although Chantal’s memory did not stretch back that far.
All the candidates knew the countries from where Jews migrated to escape persecution between 1880 and 1910. These were Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. Their ancestors may have all come from these countries, but according to the test they are, for the most part, fully integrated in the British way of life.